Defending Against War Crimes Allegations

The problem: the ICC intends to open a criminal investigation against Israeli soldiers and officials

Encouraged by the UN General Assembly’s resolution to accept the Palestinian Authority (PA) as “Non-member observer state”, the PA has turned to the International Criminal Court (ICC), in request to launch a criminal investigation against Israel for committing “War Crimes”. Last December, after five years of a “preliminary examination”, the ICC prosecutor declared her intention to open a criminal investigation, focusing on the Israeli Settlements and IDF conduct during the 2014 “Operation Protective Edge” and the Gaza border riots. The prosecutor made her decision subject to a court’s ruling, affirming that the PA is indeed a “state”, and also requested the court to rule that the territory of “the State of Palestine” compromises all pre-1967 borders, including the Holly City of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Stip.

The danger: IDF soldiers and Israeli officials under investigation and devastating effects on Israel

An ICC criminal investigation, followed by possible criminal charges against Israelis in the ICC, will carry devastating effects on the state of Israel.  These effects, stretching from the immediate personal risk for individuals, whose only blame is for serving their country and fighting terror, to more reverberating effects of delegitimization, making Israel and its people a “leprous” state, affecting its economics, security ties, international relations and more. It will be a BDS wet-dream and a shining victory to our terrorist enemies, succeeding in making the righteous suffer and the wicked thrive.

Furthermore, the mere legal recognition in the PA as a “state” by the ICC, which territory comprises all of the pre-1967 borders including the Holly places, will carry dramatic consensuses in the international arena, also will make Jews living in these areas into criminals.

Unfortunately, relying on the ICC to rule in line of the well-established legal framework, according to which the PA is clearly not a state, or to hope that the investigation to be conducted fairly, in unbiased way, or to believe that Israelis will have their day in this court – is both naive and dangerous.

What does Shurat HaDin do?

While the state of Israel, which is not a member state in the Rome Statute, refrains from formally taking part in the ICC proceedings in order not to grant legitimacy to the proceedings against it or undermine its legal position as to the court’s lack of jurisdiction, the floor is left open.

Shurat HaDin was the first Jewish organization to tackle the upcoming ICC danger, beginning our campaign against it in 2015. Our strategy was simple, we brought before the ICC compelling evidence against the PA and Hamas official’s involvement in War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, and either truth shall triumph and this PA move backfires against them, or the ICC’s biased approach will be revealed to all.

Furthermore, in order to reveal the biased nature of the prosecutor’s interest to investigate the Israeli ‘settlements’, while ignoring clear cases of occupation and transfer of population, Shurat HaDin, in representation of Cyprian communities, has approached the ICC prosecutor on the issue of Turkey’s occupation in Northern Cyprus and the transfer of Turkish population to these occupied lands.

Lately, we have also confronted the ICC prosecutors with detailed information on the PA’s ‘pay-to-slay’ scheme, according to which Palestinian prisoners and their families are granted payments by the PA. These payments thus incentivize war crimes because their size and duration are dependent upon the severity of the attack. The PA pays the largest sums to the most egregious violators of international humanitarian law in consequence of the wantonness of the violation. This scheme equals a mafia contract on the heads of Israelis, as every Palestinian knows that they will be rewarded.